Monday, October 7, 2013

What to do when a death occurs at home

What to do when a death occurs at home 
Everyone reacts differently to death. Even when a loved one’s death is expected, the emotional impact of losing someone close can be overwhelming. 

 If death occurs at home and is expected.

The first thing you should do is say your final goodbyes. Spend time with your loved one. If there is other family present, say a family prayer or a spiritual message.

  • If family is not present, notify family at once. Ask if they would like to gather with you to say goodbye. Take your time saying goodbye. There is no rush to call the funeral home. 
  • Notify your clergy (if applicable). As a family, ask clergy to say a prayer or carry out whatever sacramental practices that are meaningful to you.
  •  When a death occurs at home and is expected, call your loved one’s doctor. This does not have to be done right away, especially if the death occurs in the middle of the night.
  • If your loved one was not under the care of a doctor, call 911 and inform the operator that the death was expected. Unless the deceased is wearing a “comfort care only” bracelet or necklace, emergency medical personnel will most likely attempt resuscitation. If hospice is involved, the on-call nurse should be notified.
  • After the doctor or nurse signs the death certificate, select a funeral home and ask for transport.
  • Before you make any funeral arrangements; first determine whether the deceased left any written instructions or had already purchased or made funeral arrangements.   

If death occurs at home and is not expected.

If the death was unattended and unexpected at home, call 911. The police and emergency medical personnel will determine the next appropriate steps. Under certain circumstances, the coroner will be contacted.   

How to choose a funeral home 

If your loved one has not already selected a funeral home, how will you choose? Some people make their choice based on location. If you live in a small town, there may only be a few choices and chances are that you’ll already know these people.  

If you have many choices, here are some suggestions:
  • Call three funeral homes and ask for their GPL or general price list. Funeral directors will give you this information over the phone or by email.

  • After speaking to three funeral homes in your area, compare prices. Compare from low to high on merchandise such as caskets, urns, embalming etc.

  • Besides prices, which funeral homes answered your call and spoke to you with an appropriate amount of compassion? Did they sound caring? Maybe they didn’t even return your call?

  • Visit the funeral homes if time permits. You’ll be able to choose which one “feels right”.

  • After selecting a funeral home, get a written estimate and ask your funeral director to assist and counsel you through the wake and funeral services. That’s what they do best; serve families. 

Source :

Funeral fund

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